Chocolate is the only ingredient that is its very own food group.
Well not really—but it seems as if it should be. Powerfully comforting, creamy, delicious—many people eat chocolate at least several times a week.
Which begs the question…
Is Chocolate Good for You?
The answer is both yes and no.
Chocolate has been used for centuries to treat bronchitis, sexual malaise, fatigue, hangovers, anemia, depression, memory loss, high blood pressure, poor eyesight, and more. It also helps release that feel-good neurotransmitter—serotonin—in the brain.
But eat the wrong kind and you’ll get loads of sugar, calories, and junky ingredients.
How to Eat it Responsibly
Chocolate begins life as raw cacao (pronounced kah-kow) beans. Loaded with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and plant phenols, cacao is a powerful superfood. The more processed cacao becomes, however—think commercially produced candy bars—the fewer healthy components remain.
So how to get the most out of your chocolate fix?
- Don’t be afraid of the dark. The darker the chocolate, the more beneficial cacao it contains.
- Know your percentages: the number on dark chocolate packaging refers to the percentage of cacao bean in chocolate. For maximum health benefit, look for dark chocolate that has 75% to 85% cacao.
- Go raw—or as unprocessed as possible.
- Savor – let the chocolate square completely melt on your tongue.
Looking for more fun ways to enjoy your favorite food? You’ll love this dark chocolate treat. Invite some friends over and make a batch!
Nutty Chocolate Crispies
From the Institute for Integrative Nutriton
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Yields: 12 people
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup barley malt sweetened chocolate chips (Or Enjoy Life’s brand)
3 cups brown rice crispies cereal
- Heat brown rice syrup and almond butter in a large skillet, over low heat until creamy.
- Stir in the chips until they melt.
- Remove from the heat and stir in rice crispies.
- Gently press into a baking dish and allow mixture to set until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Cut into squares and enjoy.
Chef Karolina’s Raw Chocolate Truffles
Prep time: 20 minutes
Makes 25 truffles
1 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup cashews or macadamia nuts
½ cup maple syrup
Water (to mix)
Roll-in ingredients: shredded coconut, chopped nuts, chocolate nibs, raw sugar, cacao powder, ginger, or something else you love.
- Mix cashews in a food processor until a powder, adding enough water to create a thick paste.
- Add maple syrup to cashews and pulse to process.
- Add cacao powder. Pulse to process.
- Refrigerate for four hours or overnight for best results.
- Form teaspoon-sized balls of dough. Coat balls in your chosen roll-in ingredients!